If you attended the SBOA banquet February 15, 2014 you might have missed the quiet young couple sitting at the back of the room. They were unique in this crowd of veteran breeders.
Dave and Helen Friesen were there to bid on a stud’s service fee for their first horse, a Standardbred broodmare, named Roxanna Hanover.
While others these days are selling their stock and leaving the business, this young pair are jumping in with a passion.
Dave and Helen live in South Woodslee, a little town east of Windsor, Ontario. Dave works in a manufacturing plant near their home, while Helen stays home and looks after their four children (all under the age of six).
Their next door neighbours, Tom and Liz Knight, were the ones that peaked their interest in the sport of horse racing. After joining the Knights on a trip to Dresden and getting their pictures taken in the winner’s circle, they wanted to learn more about the sport.
Dave and Helen loaded their four children and their parents in the SUV and headed off to Leamington for the race days in September and October 2013. Caleb, their youngest son had just been born, so they would park close to the track’s outside fence and leave Mom and son in the car to watch. The other three kids, with Dave and grandparents in tow, visited the pony rides, got their faces painted, petted the animals in the mini zoo and clapped at the fence as they watched the horses race by. It was the family atmosphere at the track that convinced the Friesens that this was something their whole family could enjoy.
Tom and Liz Knight helped them pick out, Roxanna Hanover, a daughter of Real Artist out of a Matt Scooter mare with a mark of 1.53.2 and earnings of over $160,000
Jack McIntosh, father of the famous horse trainers Robert and Doug McIntosh, often said” When everyone walks you run, and when everyone runs, you walk.”
This young couple may be walking when everyone else is running.
Who knows maybe they will be the owners of future champions in this great sport of harness racing.
Good luck Dave and Helen, we will look for you in the winner’s circle.
By Ruleen Lilley, for SBOA (Ontario)